Wednesday, October 20, 2010

(Short) Story of a Pavlova

As I mentioned here, I am pretty happy cooking with eggs.  Even without a beater.  And pavlova I love especially.   I did not know this until pretty much just now, but apparently pavlova, named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, originated in New Zealand, not Australia.    So that is another thing, like Russell Crowe, that we Australians have inappropriately taken from the Kiwis and claimed for our own.  Okay, you can have Russell back. 

This week I made mini pavlovas for the children.  By mini I don't mean bite size.  I mean the size of a large burger.   The first one I made and finished had such a pitifully short life I thought I would share its journey.  

The very best thing about pavlova is the transformation of the egg whites from clear liquid to these satiny pillows.   It is an amazing chemical reaction to the beating and air. 

The critical ingredient in a pavlova is cornflour (or cornstarch).  This is what makes the pavlova soft and marshmallowy on the inside (unlike a meringue which is crisp all the way through). 

 This recipe makes enough for 4 mini pavlovas of about 10 cm diameter. 

You can also roast the strawberries for the topping (not for very long however) but for this one I used fresh ones from Western Australia. 

Here is my son tentatively touching the cream trying to work out how to eat it. 

Here he is having another go.   He then asked me to cut it up into chunks for ease (and speed) of eating. 

Exactly three minutes later, this was the result.   From bowl to mouth?   About 60 minutes.  

He enjoyed it so much that I forgot it was only half an hour until dinner.   Not surprising then that he wasn't that interested in eating any dinner.  Mind you, this is my week for negligent mothering.   On the weekend the last nappy in the house broke when I was putting it on and rather than go out to buy more I gaffer taped it together for the night.    Sometimes I do feel like I am running a not very good quality and possibly about to be de-registered creche.  


4 egg whites (room temperature is best)
pinch of salt
250 g caster sugar
2 tsp of cornflour
1 tsp of white wine vinegar

For topping - whipped cream, vanilla essence and strawberries OR passion fruit seeds OR mango. I feel very strongly that pavlova should not have a mixed fruit salad on the top. 


Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees. 

Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites and the salt together in a clean bowl on a tea towel until reasonably firm and shiny peaks form. 

Beat in the sugar, a spoonful at a time until all is incorporated. 

Fold through the cornflour and vinegar.

Place a sheet of baking paper on an oven tray and using a metal spoon, scoop 4 evenly sized spoonfuls of mixture onto the sheet.   They should be about 10 cm across. 

Place in the oven and then immediately turn down oven to 150 degrees.  Let cook for about 30 - 40 minutes until the outside is crisp and slightly browned. Turn of the oven and let sit for a further half an hour.
To assemble, put a plate over the pavlova base and gently invert.  Whip cream and add a drop of vanilla essence. Spoon cream over the top and then place fruit topping over in a nice pattern.


brismod said...

The burger size pav looks a winner, Jane. The gaffer taped nappy is not too bad. It's when you gaffer tape your child's mouth, that there might be a problem. xxx

Mise said...

That looks like a perfect dinner party dessert as well - much safer than a large one which leaves you wondering whether it might be a bit too squidgy on the inside. Extra eggs are already on tomorrow's shopping list. What do you do with the 4 yolks?

Jane said...

Mise - I am wasteful, I threw them out. I know that you can freeze egg whites but I don't think you can with egg yolks. Doctors are now saying that (contrary to earlier advice, don't you love that) you can have up to 5 eggs a week, not the one or two previously advised. !!! My son would eat scrambled eggs every day if I let him.

Makeminemidcentury said...

I laughed about five times reading this.

I've never considered gaffer-taping a nappy. Now I think, why not? 'Desperate times' and all that.

I'm with you on sending the Crowe back! He could take your egg yokes with him.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Jane you beat me to it.. I was going to say they can take Russell back... The pav looks scrumptious.. xxx Julie

Ann said...

Don't send Russell back until I have left NZ. I met Neil Finn the other day though and I think we should keep claiming him as Australian. Nice bloke. I had heard the pavlova was Kiwi (a number of times since moving here...) but I like your burger sized ones. Tres chic.

My two year old spent half the day in a swim nappy the other day as I couldn't face another shopping run. Bad mothers unite. A x

Pinecone Camp said...

Holy yum! My husband's mom used to make this when we lived in Melbourne. Yours looks fantastic. Must try this one again.

Jenny said...

I love pavlova, my favourite dessert actually. Yours look yummy! I think we have all done something similar to your nappy strategy - good thinking I say! ;-)

Tina said...

Your pav looks fabulous and obviously was as delicious as it looked!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe, that will be on our menu in the near future!! ~ Tina x

Anonymous said...

I love Pavlova ... They are somewhat easy to make but it takes a LONG time to bake the meringue. Your looks delicious!


Lee said...

I never knew that about the origin of pavlovas either! Your pavs look absolutely scrumptious - no wonder your son gobbled it up. Lee :)

Monika said...

Sounds like a real success story!!

Glamour Drops said...

That's funny because I was up till midnight baking a pavlova for my 17 year old son to take for a shared breakfast to celebrate the last day of school ....this also entailed getting up at 6 am to whip the cream and slice the mangoes, mint and strawberries...oh the things we mothers do!

kit and nancy. said...

they look delicious! bring on the summer pavs!

Heidi said...

I was a poor student in London in the late 90's - a victim of the pound to dollar exchange. I became fashionably waif like due to my inability to afford food. I remember eating a yoghurt for lunch every day as it was 19 pence, and allowed me to afford my rent.

The current exchange rate has me on a shopping spree. Recent splurges have been at Sephora (1/3 the price of Mecca Cosmetica, and I have stocked up on Philosophy gift packs for Christmas presents), and Kate Spade - DJ's are selling bags for $800 that you can buy on her site for $150 on sale. I also purchased a Nougat London dress selling in my local boutique for $290 for 35 pounds on sale. I have used which is affiliated with paypal, and also They are both reasonable for shipping costs.

I could get started on my pet topic - how ripped off we are in this country with consumer goods. Kitchenaid mixers are the prime example. Why are we paying $750 for something that is around the $250 mark in the US? The local distributors are making a killing.

Laura said...

Wow, I don't care about the tape, any mom who makes individual pavlovas for her children is a superstar as far as I'm concerned! My mom used to make these when I was growing up, although being a tad too health conscious she left off the cream. No nearly so fun without it.

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